‘God Forbid’: Hulu documentary on Falwell sex scandal premieres

Director Billy Corben spoke to 10 news about the making of the documentary

LYNCHBURG, Va. – “The reality is that students and faculty were punished. Had their academic careers, had their lives in many ways ruined because they were held to a higher standard by the Falwells, than the Falwells were holding themselves,” director Billy Corben said.

The Christian evangelical circle in America was headed largely in part by Lynchburg’s own Jerry Falwell Jr. for years.

Scandalous allegations about sex and corruption from a former business partner in 2020 led to the resignation of the former Liberty University president.

“June of 2020, I got an email sent to our website, like the old ‘contact us’ button,” Corben said.

Corben is the director of a new Hulu documentary titled, “God Forbid: The Sex Scandal that Brought Down a Dynasty,” which premiered on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Corben said that the face of the Falwell scandal, Giancarlos Granda, contacted him directly.

“He saw the country kind of burning around him and that it was time for him to do that,” Corben said.

The documentary explores the sexual relationship between Granda and Becki Falwell, and how that turned into a manipulative business partnership.

“And he’s hypnotized,” Corben said. “And then there are little red flags along the way and they get bigger and more frequent and he’s like, ‘Oh no I need to get out of here.’”

Corben said he wanted to tell Granda’s story in part for the scandal, but also for Liberty University.

“There was this disconnect between what they believed, what they were there to learn, what their parents had sent them there to learn,” Corben said. “And there was this disconnect with the leadership under the Falwells that made him feel bad.”

Both Corben and 10 News reached out to Falwell, but he said he couldn’t comment due to pending litigation.

“Play the devil’s advocate and look at the record and look at the corroboration,” Corben said. “And to that end, Giancarlos provided us with a glut of material.”

Corben wants people to recognize the hypocrisy in the Falwells’ story.

“Leaders who want to impose their moral belief on others are often those who have the most skeletons in their closet,” Corben said. “I think now more than ever, people in power and in political office seem to live by the motto, do as I say, not as I do.”

Read more about the scandal here: Jerry Falwell Jr. and wife discuss pool boy sex scandal, Liberty fallout in Vanity Fair interview

About the Author

Abbie Coleman officially joined the WSLS 10 News team in January 2023.

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